Livingston mayors update town happenings _lowres

Advocate staff photo by CHRISTINE MORGAN ARCENEAUX -- Denham Springs Mayor Jimmy Durbin talks to group gathered July 9 for the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce's Mayor's Breakfast. Mayors thoughout the parish provided updates about their areas.

Mayors from throughout Livingston Parish took turns at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast on July 9 with the intention of providing updates about their towns.

But what drew gasps was Denham Springs Mayor Jimmy Durbin’s announcement to a packed audience at Forrest Grove Plantation during the breakfast. While many Denham Springs residents wait anxiously for the arrival of Chick-fil-A in the old Chinese Inn building, Durbin candidly said he didn’t like the food.

He added he’s only eaten at the Georgia-based fast-food chicken restaurant once but plans to “try it again.”

Demolition on the former Chinese Inn has already begun, Durbin said.

Durbin said Denham Springs is seeing more hotels and plenty of new businesses, a sign of continued growth in the area. Durbin said he will return to the August meeting to provide the latest information on the Juban Crossing Development in Livingston Parish, particularly the high-capacity waste water treatment system.

In Springfield, Mayor Charlie Martin said new restaurants and the golf course, combined with the rich history of Springfield, are drawing people to the area. The town is home to a Civil War re-enactment, the Tickfaw 200 and the Redneck Regatta. He said the town will soon have a new water system.

Livingston Mayor Derral Jones said he plans to turn the land around a fighter jet recently placed near Satsuma into a veterans park. Jones said he anticipates continued growth along La. 63. Also, the town of Livingston partnered with Walker on their Fourth of July celebrations this year.

Walker Mayor Rick Ramsey told attendees about upcoming plans to annex the commercial area of La. 447, south of Interstate 12, an area that includes South Walker Elementary School and Our Lady of the Lake. The city now has the ability to accept fines and fees online through their website, making it easier for residents to pay their bills, he said.

According to a recent study, Walker is the second most desirable city in Louisiana to live and raise a family, Ramsey said.

The town will break ground on a $1.2 million water tower system in August, which will allow for 500,000-gallon capacity, tripling the capacity of the town’s current water system.

Killian Mayor Craig McGehee said the town recently added a Dollar General store, one of a handful of businesses in the area.

Killian, which does not collect sales tax, is working to pass a half percent sales tax to fund the Killian Police Department, McGehee said. McGehee said Killian will be the base for an upcoming Homeland Security project valued at $600,000. The project, he said, will provide a staging location for future emergencies. During recent storms, Killian was surrounded by rising water and stranded residents gathered at the Killian Town Hall. The project will provide needed services to residents, public officials and emergency operations, he said.